Dental Hygiene Program: Global Oral Health Strategy

Student Information and Eligibility for Humanitarian Missions


Dental hygiene students may be absent from their program for a period of 7 – 10 days to volunteer for humanitarian missions in developing countries. The University of Alberta and the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry recognize that these activities strengthen international, intercultural, and interprofessional dimensions of teaching and learning.  The program will consider the participation of dental hygiene students in missions during winter term.  BSc students may be able to attend a mission in fall term. Curriculum requirements take precedence over external activities; therefore, this document outlines protocols and parameters requisite for student participation in any humanitarian mission.

Conditions and Eligibility

  • Students in all years of dental hygiene are eligible to apply for humanitarian missions. 
  • Only students with satisfactory academic standing and whose clinical progress is deemed satisfactory may attend a mission.
  • In any week, only two dental hygiene students may be absent for global missions except during Reading Week where any number of students could be absent.
  • Students may not be absent during final examinations.
  • The preferred absence is 7 program days and the maximum is 10 program days.  
  • Participating students are responsible for all expenses related to the approved mission experience. 
  • Students are responsible for meeting all curricular requirements that were missed while absent.
  • Due to academic demands in D HYG II, a mission during Reading Week would be best. 


The following agencies have been attended by FoMD students or faculty.  With approval, students may apply for different missions. This is not a complete list of possible humanitarian missions.

Dentistry for All: This mission is Edmonton based and was founded by Dr. Dennis Bedard. It has been sending volunteers annually to The Philippines, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. In 15 years, 30 missions have been completed and over 12,000 people have been treated.

Kindness in Action: This mission is Edmonton based and was founded by Dr. Amil Shapka. In its’ third decade of providing dental and dental hygiene treatment and care to people in developing countries, this year KIA has committed to 14 projects in 8 countries with close to 300 volunteers.

Global Kindness Foundation: This agency is a Vancouver based, newly formed charity whose aim is to sponsor dental and medical missions worldwide. To date the organization has led volunteer teams to Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Iraq and Kashmir, India. The mission of GKF is to provide much needed dental and medical services to impoverished people worldwide.

Medical Mercy Canada: MMC is a Calgary based, non-government, non-religious, charitable organization. MMC provides medical supplies, education, support and other supplies to India, Nepal, and Burmese refugees in Thailand and to impoverished villagers in Ukraine. MMC has an annual medical dental camp that goes to Nepal in the fall.

Change for Children Association: Change for Children is an Edmonton based charity founded in 1976 by a small group of people who were convinced that concerned Albertans could make a positive impact in the fight against poverty and injustice, internationally and in their own communities.

Dental Care for Children: This non-profit, California based organization, was founded by Dr. Charles Tozzer. He has coordinated over 200 dental clinics for free dental care for children without the means to see a dentist. Dental Care for Children arranges missions Trips include clinics in Haiti, Mexico, and  California. 


  • Choose a mission: Choose a mission. Ensure your eligibility and mission availability.
  • Submit application: Complete the Dental Hygiene Program Oral Health Mission application from the School of Dentistry website and submit to Dr. Sharon Compton at After approval, make application to the mission.  
  • Missed curriculum work: After approval for the mission, advise your professors and make necessary arrangements for missed assignments while away on the mission.
  • Presentation: Student/s will give a noon hour presentation on their experiences and the benefit they realized by participating in the mission.